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Tuesday, 18 December 2012

I love LA

If my mem’ry serves me well
I was on the California Zephyr
And while ridin’ on that train goin’ west
I recalled some songs/ or tried.
Now I got mixed up confusion.
Take me down to California baby.
I’m not used to four seasons
California’s got but one/ San Francisco’s fine
But I’m goin’ down south/ ’Neath the borderline.
I love L.A.
Hate New York city/ It’s cold and it’s damp
left Chicago a week ago/ for the archipelago
From the south bay to the valley
Ahh love it.
Look at that smog/ Look at that sign
Sunset boulevard/ Vermont avenue
I love L.A. (We love it).
I hit the road of Kerouac, but unlike Jack, I didn't hop a freight train. I hopped off an Amtrak train one high evening in mid-November 2012. An ordinary itinerary for a hobo: Got on a shuttle then a city bus - Culver city bus 6 to Aviation/LAX station. TAP transit access day pass - Metro Green Line. Aviation Station then Metro Rail towards Norwalk.
I went on a 20-mile journey from the LAX precinct to Sunset Boulevard through the glamour strip to the Griffith Observatory. The tour included everything that the unglamorous Vermont Avenue (a microcosm of LA) had to offer. First up the places of worship - they worship more gods there than the ancient Egyptians or the Mayan and Greek pantheons combined. Here's just a few towers of babble that I saw :
Evangelistic world Tabernacle Manoah church of god Good hope Baptist Christian center Pray time Opportunity church Greater faith Shaddai Christian Holy temple Do right Christian Institutional church Christ is the answer New beginnings church Church of scientology Ever increasing faith Church of Christ Church Celestial church Christ is the answer Promiseland church of god Temple St Raphael’s Greater Bethany Nativity church Presbyterian Rock of faith Christ gospel prayer center Lutheran Mormons St agnes church Pray time mission Islamic center Iglesia christiana New Antioch church Nativity Tabernacle Our mother of god counsel church Gurdwara sikh temple Elysian Masonic lodge Church of Christ mosques.
As they say in the classics: Only in Hollywood...
I wonder what god makes of all the confused tongues of confused souls babbling confusedly in so many confusing pulpits, all purporting to worship him, praising her to the high heavens in their churchtowers full of hot air - a lot of gas bagging there - their church is the one true pathway to god and salvation., blah blah blah... Get a life people, or go and find god. May he so help you.

I went to find something to eat... Next on the things to see in L.A. are the places to eat in:
Jim dandy fried chicken Burger joint Church’s chicken Pizza Bakery Tortillera Seafood Pizza restaurants cafes taco bell fast food joints.
And then the rest:
Inn Motel Liquor market Meat market Fish market Discount store Bakeries Towing Auto parts Auto sales Warehouses Banks Fashion Pet fish; Fitness and beauty Wellness center Pharmacy Beauty parlors Drug treatment center Health center Children’s hospital Eye center Dental clinic Optometry Orthopaedics Reflexology Health services Mental health Medical Optical Mortuary; Supermarkets Laundromats Laundry Dry cleaning pawn shop Computer shop Gaming amusement store Braille Money changer Instant tax Martial arts; Council constituency office Social services Fire department Chidren’s center Library Post office Community centers Police Salvation army Hospitals medical centres clinics boticas Government offices Parks Sports fields Schools Fire dept; Carparks Oil and fuel Discount Hardware Bike shop Tyre Thrift Travel Furniture; Universities piedmont wcu and usc Colleges academies high schools; Hotels inns motels Apartments South Vermont ave Korean businesses.
I got out of these jungles and dashed out up to Observatory hill.
Griffith Observatory

Parking is free up on the observatory but I went on foot there anyway, by bus and train and bus again. From the Griffith observatory I observed the worst smog area in America – metropolitan LA. It rivals Beijing and the other contenders for the heavyweight crown of smogtown.

But apparently the smog season had finished. I must just have missed it. Yes I missed out on seeing the world-infamous sight of smog over LA. Luckily there was still a bit of smog hanging around. But something was in the way- a monstrosity. A monstrous city was blocking the view. The cityscape, the highrise and other man-made features blocked my view of the smog from every angle (L.A.'s susceptibility to atmospheric inversion is made so much worse by unabated human and mechanical activity producing extremely high levels of ozone pollution and other undesirable externalities). I lowered my sights to somewhere below the smogline and found some crooked lines.
I was planning to run these trails above but missed out on registration for the 2012 Griffith trail half-marathon. I blame it on my mates, the border guards up in Sarnia.

I looked to Hollywood for some entertainment.
I could not find the forest for the trees.
Nor feel the wind for the breeze.

I did see the sign neath the skyline.

Went to roam near the dome.




Here in California, soot hang heavy in the air.
I was enjoying the view of L.A.'s world famous smog, when some apparition started blocking the view. A massive sprawling panorama of a metropolitan city emerged and tried to outfog the smog. Didn't I say this before? I must be getting high.
But this was hollywood and the good smog eventually prevailed over the invading bad green trees and vegetation.
Yeah! Go smog!
It took decades but LA has got its act together. It still has smog and that's due to geography and location (LA is a natural pollution trap) made a lot worse by temperature inversions and vehicular emissions. Some rain fell during the afternoon but I found refuge and coffee at the Roosevelt golf course. Then at sunset I dashed to the Dash Observatory Shuttle for the short drive back to Sunset Boulevard of broken dreams where I caught another bus down Vermont Avenue.
Vermont Avenue is one of the longest north/south streets in Los Angeles. Going north from Athens Station the road is three-lane wide with a tree-lined wide median right through South L.A. It goes through El Salvador Community Corridor then passes the western end of the USC and Exposition Park in South Los Angeles. It passes next through Koreatown west of historic Filipinotown. It passes Little Armenia north of the Hollywood Freeway (US 101). It then goes past the eastern boundary of the East Hollywood district of Hollywood then Sunset Boulevard at the Children's Hospital of Los Angeles through the intersection with Hollywood Boulevard into Loz Feliz. Vermont Avenue passes to the east of the Barnsdall Art Park, and then the intersection with Los Feliz Boulevard. It becomes Vermont Canyon Road narrowing down further to a one-lane divided road until the Greek Theatre in the Los Feliz neighborhood portal to Griffith Park.
I took this route before, but my memry don't serve me well so I went the other way. Vermont Avenue has the most Metro rail stations of any street in the system. I think I got on the Red Line from the Children's Hospital on the corner of Vermont and Sunset off Silver Lake.
Later I hopped back on the metro to Aviation Station where I found my feet and walked to ‘The Proud Bird’ steakhouse where I saw a few proud birds. These birds ain't no songbirds but I recalled a couple more tunes.
My country, 'tis of thee, 
In America, every man is free 
You'll be as happy as a monkey 
Sail away 
Asia's crowded and Europe's too old 
Africa is far too hot and Canada's too cold 
And South America stole our name 
Let's drop the big one, 
there'll be no one left to blame us...
We'll save Australia 
Don't wanna hurt no kangaroo 
Ahhh I love a sunburnt country 
A land of droughts and flooding rains...

I got in the arse-end of a sleeping plane, back to the arse-end of the world, I mean back to the land of sweeping plains...
Nice video here: I love LA
But perhaps an even better song:
Well if I can just get off of this L.A. freeway
Without getting killed or caught
Down the road in a cloud of smoke...